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Georgia Bans Import of Potatoes from Turkey

Georgia’s Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture stated that they have banned potato imports from Turkey until July 2018 to eliminate the spread of “potato cancer” on Georgian territory. The relevant decree was signed by the Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvli. The Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, Levan Davitashvili, stated that prohibition of potato imports from Turkey for several months is a temporary sanitary measure. “This is a sanitary…

Seed infected with Dickeya, the new blackleg

Potato seed infected late in the season with Dickeya (new blackleg) usually does not show symptoms in the field before harvest nor in seed storages. This is because Dickeya requires high temperatures for the development of visible symptoms. The optimum temperature for Dickeya is above 25 C. By contrast, the old blackleg (Pectobacterium) can develop at cool temperatures (8-10 C), and symptoms are usually visible when cutting seed. I have two questions about Dickeya: If dormant infection…

U.S. student wins prize for blight solution

New York student Benjamin “Benjy” Firester has won one of the United States’ top young science prizes for his research on the devastating microorganism which caused the Irish Potato Famine, devising a computer model that could prevent it causing billions of dollars in lost crops every year. The 18-year-old senior at Hunter College High School beat 1,800 students in the race to the $250,000 first prize at the Regeneron Science Talent Search,…

Picking away at the problem of common scab on potatoes

Dr. Claudia Goyer, a molecular bacteriologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre in New Brunswick, says she is seeing promising results that may help potato growers get more of their products into the global marketplace. Common scab is a potato disease caused by bacteria in the soil and while it is not a health issue for humans, common scab’s crusty lesions on potato skin can make potatoes unmarketable. …

Disease Watch: Spore Trapping

Determining late blight presence and disease pressure on the potato crop is an ongoing challenge. A heavy late blight infestation can cause several thousands of dollars in losses. Control of late blight is mostly achieved through fungicide application, and growers anticipate that late blight control requires routine applications of fungicides at high rates and short intervals throughout the growing season, beginning at 50 per cent emergence. This is an unsustainable situation that…

Solving Eastern Canada’s Yield Woes

As a large-scale soil rejuvenation study in New Brunswick draws to a close, lead researcher and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada potato scientist Bernie Zebarth says solutions to lagging potato yield in Eastern Canada are anything but simple. For decades, potatoes have held top position as Maritime Canada’s most important cash crop. In 2015-2016, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia produced 1.84 million tonnes of potatoes for a value of $256…

Disease Watch: Potato Virus Y

Potato virus Y (PVY) is one of the most damaging potato viruses and a serious threat to the successful production of an acceptable seed lot around the world. It can cause mosaic on potato leaves, and affect yield and quality. Yield losses range from 10 to 80 per cent. Affected tubers are unusable for propagation. Late season virus transmission by aphids is difficult to detect in field inspections as it seldom produces…

GM potato variety could deflate GMO myths’ bubble in Uganda

Uganda is steadily progressing towards having a potato that will not require chemical spraying. This is because scientists at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) and International Potato Center have developed a late blight resistant variety, Vic 1, from the popularly grown susceptible Victoria variety. According to Dr. Alex Barekye, who is the director of Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute in Kabale District, this new variety has shown great results in…

Tackling Resistant Pink Rot

Ridomil has been the standard fungicide for managing pink rot for many years. However, a national survey shows Ridomil-resistant pink rot is becoming more common. Fortunately, Canadian research has identified effective alternatives for managing resistant populations. “The issue of pink rot resistance came to a head in the early 2000s, when different potato production regions in the U.S. were finding some resistance to Ridomil, which has the active ingredient mefenoxam as they…

Potato blight’s chemical attack mechanism explained

A team of international researchers headed by scientists from the University of Tübingen has deciphered the workings of a cytolytic toxin, which is produced by some of the world’s most devastating crop diseases. The Cytolysin is manufactured by pathogens such as bacteria and fungi and can wipe out entire harvests if chemical protection is not used. The study – by researchers from Tübingen and their partner institutions in Berkeley, Bordeaux, Ljubljana, Liége…

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